What’s Your Word?

acceptanceMany people write a retrospective about the previous year and set goals for the next the last week of December or the first week of January. But, I’m not most people and as January is winding down already, I missed both those marks.

For the past few years I focused on a phrase or word instead of setting a specific resolution. “Stretch” was the word of the year I focused on last year. However, I only know this after re-reading Retrospective 2021. By March I had long forgotten my chosen word. Although, my word may have been forgotten, upon reflection I didn’t do too bad fulfilling my goal of stretching myself out of my comfort zone. I am not an extrovert by any stretch of the imagination (did you see what I did there?). Going to places where I won’t know anyone alone is not something I typically do. Yet, my subconscious must have remembered my word for me as I attended these events by myself (although I almost talked myself out of going to a few of them more than once!):

  • Black and Brown Women Rising at Toledo Museum of Art
  • Black Issues Conference at Bowling Green State University
  • Women’s Equity Luncheon Hosted by Women of Toledo
  • Democrats 101 at Grounds for Thought
  • Bowling Green League of Women Voter’s Membership Luncheon
  • March for Reproductive Rights in Bowling Green, OH
  • Wood County Democrats monthly meetings
  • Rise Advocates End of Year party

In addition, to this I also put myself out there and volunteered to work in the Wood County Democrats booth at our local fair and to be an election poll worker this last November. Most importantly though, after working at the same company for 17 years, I resigned. I left what felt known and because of that “comfortable,” because I had a nagging feeling the company wasn’t a good fit for me anymore. I took a chance with a new company with better hours and pay. As a bonus I’m working for a small, woman-owned business and am loving what I do again. I list these accomplishments, not to brag. Rather they are a reminder to myself that I have moved forward and stretched.

All too often, I focus on what I didn’t get done and stagnate in where I failed. I get down on myself for forgetting my word of the year. I look over my blog and realize I only posted a handful of times. I step on the scale and feel shame because the 20 pounds I worked so hard to lose is back. Yet, I can’t stop myself from eating three Ho Hos and hiding the wrappers so no one sees. I have days when bed seems like the best place to stay, binging the latest Netflix or Hulu series. Dry shampoo and sweatpants are my besties and I’m glad I work, remote so no one can see me. I read through the NY Times app, listen to NPR or scroll through social media feeds and lose hope that anything I could do would make a difference in this broken world. What’s the point of trying? What is the point?

My privilege in this country would allow me to cut myself off from the news and return back to the ignorant bliss of just not knowing. After all, many of the social justice and human rights issues don’t affect me directly. I can’t go back though. There is a voice inside me that won’t let me. I believe am called to advocate for social justice and human rights issues. Last weekend, I went to church with my daughters again. The pastor talked about what it really means to be a follower of Christ. He reflected on how growing up, he read scripture and knew that if he wanted to be a true follower it would would “mess up” his life. Because, being a Christian doesn’t mean just attending service every Sunday to check the spirituality box. “Exactly!” I thought to myself. THIS. This box-checking Christianity was one of the reasons I feel so uncomfortable at church service now. Believing that many of the people there probably do not share my core beliefs or if they do, didn’t vote for candidates or issues that support them (statistically speaking based on how my county voted in the last election) chances are high. Our country was not founded on Christian values, but American values. America was founded on the core values such as we are all created equal and that we have a right to practice (or not) whatever religion we want, that we can speak freely (but there are consequences for lying) and more… Well, I have taken a bit of tangent in my recap! So what is the point? The point for me is this that though this calling has messed up my quiet life, that’s good. There is hope in that doing those little things to make change.

Originally I chose the word “consistency” to guide me through 2023. However, after three weeks into the new year, I’ve come to the conclusion this is not a good word for me. Why? Well, I meant for it to be a positive influence. I would consistently get up early and journal. I would consistently go for a walk. I would consistently blog more. I would consistently make better food choices. Ha! I’m also really good at consistently pressing the snooze button, consistently watching TV, consistently playing WordScapes and consistently eating Cheetos. So, I decided to let a random word generator, pick my word instead. The word the universe picked for me is “acceptance.” I like it. Accepting myself for who I am right now is definitely something I can work on. We’ll see how I do next year. (I know sometime next year I’ll be looking for this post so I can remember my word for 2023 (in the wrong month though I’m sure!)) Hopefully, I’ll be more accepting of my failures.

Anyone else pick a word for their year? How’s it going?